Tillakaratne ton leads Sri Lanka to win over New Zealand
HAMILTON, New Zealand (AP) — Tillakaratne Dilshan made a flawless 116 to lead Sri Lanka to a comfortable six-wicket win over New Zealand on Thursday, leveling the seven-match one-day series at 1-1.
Chasing New Zealand’s 248, Sri Lanka reached the target with 14 balls to spare thanks chiefly to Dilshan’s 17th one-day century.
Earlier, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum made 117 from 99 balls but the Black Caps’ batting effort descended into chaos after McCullum departed, with four run outs destroying the middle order.
Dilshan then brilliantly paced the Sri Lanka reply, reaching his century from 116 balls and finally falling in the 46th over with only 12 runs needed for victory.
He was well-supported throughout the Sri Lanka innings. Kumar Sangakkara made 38 including three straight sixes, Mahela Jayawardene contributed 27 with five boundaries and captain Angelo Mathews was unbeaten on 39 and hit the winning runs with his sixth boundary.
“It was pretty pleasing the way the boys went about things,” Mathews said. “They got off to a brilliant start — Brendon McCullum batted really well — but our spinners especially pulled them back.
“In the field, again, we were brilliant taking four run outs and it was a very good performance by the whole team.”
Mathews said Tillakaratne had played the vital anchor role in a well-executed run chase.
“As soon as he got off to a brilliant start he made sure he continued and batted through the innings and that’s what we want from our first four batters,” Mathews said.
McCullum tried to play that role for New Zealand, setting his team up for a score in excess of 300, but no-one took up the baton when he was out. When he fell he had scored 117 of New Zealand’s total of 158, dominating partnerships of 35 with Martin Guptill (10), 38 with Tom Latham (5) and 85 with Ross Taylor, of which Taylor contributed 23.
The century was McCullum’s fifth in one-day internationals and his first since February, 2012 and extended the run of form which has seen him scored a triple century and two double centuries in tests in the past 12 months.
McCullum scored a half century from 19 balls in the first one-dayer, which New Zealand won by three wickets. He was only a little less forceful on Thursday, reaching his half century from 33 balls and his century from 88 deliveries with 10 fours and four sixes.
The runouts of Daniel Vettori (7), Corey Anderson (5), Luke Ronchi (0) and Nathan McCullum (13) wrecked the New Zealand innings and deprived it of any chance of extending its winning record at home this season. Sri Lanka won for the first time on its New Zealand tour after losing the test series 2-0 and the one-day opener.
“Four run outs is just not good enough,” McCullum said. “We probably let a little bit of panic set in and that’s something we’ve prided ourselves on not doing recently.
“We’ll have to learn the lesson from it because we were in a pretty good position at that time and we were threatening probably a 300-plus score. They were certainly desperate in the field to put us under pressure.”